Memorial Day Weekend Weather Outlook

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Friday: Showers likely, mainly after 10am. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 59. Breezy, with a southeast wind 5 to 10 mph increasing to 15 to 20 mph in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 25 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%. New precipitation amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch possible.
Friday Night: Showers likely, with thunderstorms also possible after 1am. Patchy fog after 1am. Otherwise, cloudy, with a low around 52. Southeast wind around 15 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%. New rainfall amounts of less than a tenth of an inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms.
Saturday: Areas of drizzle and thunderstorms before 1pm, then a chance of showers and thunderstorms after 1pm. Patchy fog before 10am. Otherwise, cloudy, with a high near 64. Southeast wind around 15 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph. Chance of precipitation is 50%. New rainfall amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms.
Saturday Night: Showers likely and possibly a thunderstorm. Cloudy, with a low around 58. Southeast wind around 15 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%. New rainfall amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms.
Sunday: A 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 69. New rainfall amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms.

Memorial Day, formerly known as Decoration Day, has been observed on the final Monday of May since 1971, and thus ranges in date from May 25-31. Prior to 1971, Memorial Day was always observed on May 30th.  In South Central Nebraska, late May weather conditions vary from spring-like to summer-like, and severe thunderstorms pay a semi-regular visit during the Memorial Day Weekend.  The majority of Memorial Days across the local area feature high temperatures somewhere between the upper-60s and mid-80s, while morning lows usually dip between the upper-40s and low-60s.  However, in just the past 30 years, Memorial Day highs in Grand Island have ranged all the way from 56° to 101°! The tables below feature a wealth of Memorial Day weather and climate information focused specifically on Grand Island, where weather records date back 119 years to 1896. 

According to the entire period of record in Grand Island, the hottest Memorial Day was 103° in 1934, and the coolest daytime high was 54° in 1915.  As for low temperatures, the chilliest on record was 36° in 1947, and the mildest was 72° in 1934.  Only 11 of the 119 Memorial Days on record (9%) have featured high temperatures of 90° or warmer, most recently in 2000.  The most recent 100°+ Memorial Day was in 1989, and the most recent Memorial Day that failed to reach 60° was in 1997.

As for rainfall, the wettest Memorial Day on record was in 1935 with 2.97″.  Measurable rain (0.01 inch or more) has been recorded in 46 of the 119 years, or 39% of the time.  This includes 4 of the past 6 years.  However, it has been 38 years now (1977) since 1″ or more of rain has fallen at the Central Nebraska Regional Airport.  The last time severe thunderstorms directly affected the Grand Island area on Memorial Day was four years ago on May 30, 2011, when an evening squall line produced a peak gust of 74 mph at the airport, resulting in several reports of tree and structural damage across town. Two years ago on May 27, 2013, severe storms pounded parts of South Central Nebraska, including an EF2 tornado at Edgar in Clay County, but these storms avoided Grand Island.

Images and data from the NSW Hastings office. www.crh.noaa.gov

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